By Josko Baric (Twitter)
Syrian government forces today advanced against the Islamic State east of T3 airport & pumping station area, capturing the nearby vast desertous area aswell as several localities in the area, such as Bir al-Buyud (27km southwest of T3), Bir al-Jafif (17km south of T-3 station) and Al-Dulayiyat (75km east of T3). The SAA and its allies are slowly, but carefully advancing along the road towards Deir al-Zour and along the border between Iraq and Syria. Today's advances are aimed at securing the flanks in order to avoid any surprises from the Islamic State's fighters still stationed in the desert. As already stated, SAA's goals in eastern Homs are reaching the besieged Deir al-Zour, lifting the siege and securing the border with Iraq.
In eastern Homs' desertous area, Islamic State is still offering resistance in forms of small raids and anti-tank guided missile attacks against SAA & allies positions. However, these ISIS' raids can still be costly for the Syrian Arab Army, as on the 25th of June, ISIS killed Brigadier General Fuad Khaddour, one of the leaders of the operations against the group in eastern Homs. Khaddour was also one of the few Syrian generals honored by Russia for their role in fighting against the Islamic State.
As experienced fighters of the desert, the Islamic State will try to continue to hamper and slow down the government forces advance towards Deir ez-Zour. They want to slow them down in order to gain enough time to capture the city themselves; however as time has proven, the besieged city is extremely hard to capture despite its isolated position, as multiple ISIS offensives on the area have been repelled in the last few months.